FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. - During construction on Libby Army Airfield's new south ramp Dec. 18, 1st Lt. Luke Ritz, a project engineer at the Los Angeles District's Resident Office here, and Harold Colby, a construction representative from the Tucson Resident Office, supervise testing of random batches of concrete to ensure that it meets stringent design specifications.
"We test humidity, wind speed, ambient temperature and even the weight of a batch," said Ritz. "We make sure the concrete will cure properly to provide a long service life."
Typically, concrete has four times the life expectancy of asphalt and is much more resilient for airfield operations.
"The project is not only fixing several versions of the south ramp," said Carol Thompson, LAAF manager. "Before, it had two major strips of concrete and two of asphalt. The asphalt was not conducive to operating large aircraft on it."
LAAF and the adjacent Sierra Vista Municipal Airport are a seasonal home to the U.S. Forest Service, hosting an air tanker base for the annual wildfire season in the Southwest.
"When the south ramp is completed, it will be used for helicopter tankers and single engine air tankers during fire season," added Thompson. "It will also afford a place to park and service helicopters and any other aircraft not stationed here."
The more than $6 million project will pour roughly 13,000 cubic yards of concrete, about 351,000 cubic feet in all.